Hatches Open, 10 Crew Members Occupying Station

The newly-expanded 10-member station crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family members and mission officials on Earth. Credit: NASA TV
The newly-expanded 10-member station crew gathers in the Zvezda service module for a welcoming ceremony with family members and mission officials on Earth. Credit: NASA TV

The hatches between the International Space Station and the newly arrived Soyuz spacecraft officially opened at 9:20 a.m. EDT as they flew 270 miles above the South Pacific. The arrival of three new crew members to the existing seven people already aboard for Expedition 64 temporarily increases the station’s population to 10.

They have arrived on three different spacecraft. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos arrived on the Soyuz MS-18 after a two-orbit, three-hour flight following their launch from Kazakhstan at 3:42 a.m. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos aboard the Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft October 14, 2020. NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have been aboard since arriving November 16, 2020, on the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience.

Expedition 65 begins Friday, April 16, with the departure of Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov. Ryzhikov will hand command of the station to Walker during a ceremony with all crew members that is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. April 15, and will air live on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

The Expedition 65 crew will continue more than 20 years of continuous human presence aboard the station, conducting research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research and more. Research conducted in microgravity helps NASA prepare for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars, and contributes to improvements for life on Earth. Follow Vande Hei on Twitter during his mission.

This is the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov, who becomes the 243rd person to visit the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted nearly 3,000 research investigations from researchers in 108 countries and areas.

During Expedition 65, the arrival of Crew-2 aboard the SpaceX Crew Dragon will bring four more members to the International Space Station. Crew-2 is currently scheduled for launch on Earth Day, April 22. Crew-1, the first long-duration commercial crew mission, will return to Earth on April 28.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Soyuz Crew Ship Docks to Station With Expedition 65 Trio

The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured on final approach to its docking port on the space station's Rassvet module.
The Soyuz MS-18 crew ship is pictured on final approach to its docking port on the space station’s Rassvet module.

The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos docked to the International Space Station at 7:05 a.m. EDT while both spacecraft were flying about 262 miles above northern China.

When the hatches between the two spacecraft are opened following standard pressurization and leak checks, NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, and Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos will welcome the new crew members

Watch the hatch opening on NASA TV, the agency’s website, and the NASA app beginning at 8:30 a.m. for hatch opening targeted for about 9 a.m.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Station Crew Blasts Off on Short Ride to Station

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying three Expedition 65 crew members to the space station. Credit: NASA TV
The Soyuz MS-18 rocket blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying three Expedition 65 crew members to the space station.

Nearly nine minutes after a successful launch at 3:42 a.m. EDT of the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos safely reached orbit. They have begun a two-orbit, three-hour flight to reach the International Space Station and join the Expedition 64 crew. At the time of launch, the station was flying about 259 miles over  northern Uzbekistan, 335 miles behind the Soyuz as it left the launch pad.

This is the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov. They will dock the Soyuz to the station’s Rassvet module at 7:07 a.m. Coverage of the docking will begin on NASA TV and the agency’s website, and the NASA app at 6:15 a.m.

About two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and they will join NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, who arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in October 2020, and the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience – NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi – who have been in orbit since November.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV is Live Covering Soyuz Rocket Launching Station Crew

(From top to bottom) Expedition 65 crew members Pyotr Dubrov, Oleg Novitskiy and Mark Vande Hei wave bye before boarding their Soyuz MS-18 rocket for a liftoff to the space station.
(From top to bottom) Expedition 65 crew members Pyotr Dubrov, Mark Vande Hei and Oleg Novitskiy wave bye before boarding their Soyuz MS-18 rocket for a liftoff to the space station.

Live launch coverage is underway on NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app for the targeted lift off at 3:42 a.m. EDT (12:42 p.m. in Baikonur), of a Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy and Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos will begin a three-hour journey to the International Space Station aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft. Their journey will be the second time a Soyuz crew has taken the fast-track, two-orbit rendezvous path to the space station.

The new crew members will dock to the station’s Rassvet module at 7:07 a.m. They will temporarily increase the station’s population to 10 as they join the Expedition 64 Expedition 64 crew including NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos, and the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience – NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi.

Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov, and Rubins will depart the station on Friday, April 16, landing in Kazakhstan in the Soyuz MS-17 that carried them to the space station in October 2020 and completing their six-month stay aboard the orbiting laboratory.

At approximately 9 a.m., about two hours after docking, hatches between the Soyuz and the station will open, and the 10 crew members will greet each other.

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

NASA TV Broadcasts Friday Launch to Station on Soyuz Crew Ship

Expedition 65 crew members (from left) Mark Vande Hei, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov pose for a portrait at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.
Expedition 65 crew members (from left) Mark Vande Hei, Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov pose for a portrait at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia.

A trio of space travelers, including NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, is scheduled to launch aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 3:42 a.m. EDT (12:42 p.m. Kazakhstan time) Friday, April 9.

Beginning at 2:45 a.m., NASA Television, the agency’s website, and the NASA app will provide live coverage of the crew’s launch. Teams at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan are making final preparations for the liftoff of Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov.

The launch will send the crew members on a two-orbit, three-hour journey to the space station, where they will join the Expedition 64 crew, temporarily increasing the orbiting laboratory’s population to 10 people.

They will join NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins, who arrived on the station with Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov of Roscosmos in October 2020, and the crew of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Resilience – NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi – who have been in orbit since November.

It will be the second spaceflight for Vande Hei, the third for Novitskiy, and the first for Dubrov. The launch comes three days before the 60th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s launch to become the first human in space and the 40th anniversary of the first launch of NASA’s space shuttle.

During their six-month mission, the Expedition 65 crew will continue work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science, and Earth science aboard the International Space Station, humanity’s only permanently occupied microgravity laboratory. Work on the unique microgravity laboratory advances scientific knowledge and demonstrates new technologies, making research breakthroughs that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline in EDT:

April 8 EDT   L-Hr/M/Sec  Event

18:05:41pm   9:37:00         Crew wakeup at Cosmonaut Hotel (time appx)
21:05:41pm    6:37:00        Crew departs Cosmonaut Hotel (time appx)
21:50:41pm    5:52:00        Crew arrives at Site 254
21:57:41pm    5:45:00        Batteries installed in booster
22:35:41pm    5:07:00        Crew suit up
22:42:41pm    5:00:00        Tanking begins
23:37:41pm    4:05:00        Booster loaded with liquid oxygen; crew meets with officials
23:56:41pm    3:46:00        Crew walkout from 254; boards bus for the launch pad

April 9 EDT

00:01:41am    3:41:00        Crew departs for launch pad at Site 31
00:37:41am    3:05:00        First and second stage oxygen fueling complete
01:11:41am    2:31:00        Crew arrives at launch pad at site 31
01:17:41am    2:25:00        Crew boards Soyuz; strapped in to the Descent module
02:07:41am    1:35:00        Descent module hardware tested
02:22:41am    1:20:00        Hatch closed; leak checks begin
02:42:41am    1:00:00        Launch vehicle control system prep; gyro activation

02:45:00am     :57:41        NASA TV LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS

02:57:41am      :45:00        Pad service structure components lowered
02:58:41am      :44:00        Clamshell gantry service towers retracted

03:05:00am     :37:41        NASA TV: Crew pre-launch activities played (B-roll)

03:05:41am      :37:00        Suit leak checks begin; descent module testing complete
03:08:41am      :34:00        Emergency escape system armed
03:27:41am      :15:00        Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
03:32:41am      :10:00        Gyros in flight readiness and recorders activated
03:35:41am      :07:00        Pre-launch operations complete
03:36:41am      :06:00        Launch countdown operations to auto; vehicle ready
03:37:41am      :05:00        Commander’s controls activated
03:38:41am      :04:00        Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
03:39:41am     :03:00        Propellant drainback
03:39:58am      :02:43        Booster propellant tank pressurization
03:41:11am      :01:30        Ground propellant feed terminated
03:41:41am      :01:00        Vehicle to internal power
03:42:06am      :00:35        First umbilical tower separates

Auto sequence start

03:42:11am      :00:30        Ground umbilical to third stage disconnected
03:42:26am      :00:15        Second umbilical tower separates
03:42:29am      :00:12        Launch command issued

Engine Start Sequence Begins

03:42:31am      :00:10        Engine turbopumps at flight speed
03:42:36am      :00:05        Engines at maximum thrust
03:42:41am     :00:00        LAUNCH OF SOYUZ MS-18 TO THE ISS
03:43:23am     +:00:42      ISS FLIES OVER THE BAIKONUR COSMODROME
03:51:27am     +8:46         Third stage separation and orbital insertion for the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft

For launch coverage and more information about the mission, visit: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/. Get space station news, images and features via social media on Instagram at: @iss, ISS on Facebook, and on Twitter @Space_Station and @ISS_Research.

Station Readies for Expanded Crew as Science Stays in Focus

A waning gibbous Moon is pictured above the Earth's horizon as the space station orbited 269 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.
A waning gibbous Moon is pictured above the Earth’s horizon as the space station orbited 269 miles above the Atlantic Ocean.

The Expedition 64 crew is getting ready to welcome three new crew members who are due to launch on Friday to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, a variety of space research activities are underway aboard the orbiting lab today.

One NASA astronaut and two Roscosmos cosmonauts are in final preparations for their liftoff on a Soyuz rocket set for Friday at 3:42 a.m. EDT. Flight Engineers Mark Vande Hei and Pyotr Dubrov will flank Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy for the short trip to the station inside the new Soyuz MS-18 crew ship.

Docking of the new Expedition 65 trio to the Rassvet module is planned for 7:07 a.m. The crew will open the hatch after leak and pressure checks and enter the station about 9 a.m. A welcoming ceremony with the expanded 10-person crew along with participants on the ground will occur shortly afterward. NASA TV will broadcast the launch and docking activities beginning at 2:45 a.m.

NASA Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker are busy readying the station to temporarily accommodate the new crew members. The trio is setting up extra sleep stations for this month’s crew swaps when there will be as many as 11 people occupying the space station.

Biomedical studies, or human research, is always ongoing aboard the station. Saliva and blood sample collections were the first tasks of the day for Hopkins, Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov. Glover scanned his own neck, leg and cardiac veins with an ultrasound device then checked his blood pressure for the Vascular Aging study.

NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins installed the new TangoLab-2 biology research hardware, delivered in February aboard the Cygnus space freighter, inside the U.S. Destiny laboratory module. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi readied a materials space exposure study for placement outside the Kibo laboratory module.

Soyuz Crew Ship Ready for Launch; Space Science in Full Swing

The Soyuz MS-18 rocket, that will launch the Expedition 65 crew to the space station on April 9, is rolled out to the launch pad in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
The Soyuz MS-18 rocket, that will launch the Expedition 65 crew to the space station on April 9, is rolled out to the launch pad in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

The first of two crews launching to the International Space Station in April will blast off from Kazakhstan on Friday. The Soyuz MS-18 rocket rolled out to its launch pad this morning as three new Expedition 65 crew members get ready for their long-term space research mission.

NASA Flight Engineer Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos Flight Engineer Pyotr Dubrov will flank Soyuz Commander Oleg Novitskiy inside the new Soyuz crew ship. They will lift off Friday at 3:42 a.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and take a near three-and-a-half hour ride to the station, orbiting Earth twice.

After the new crew docks to the Rassvet module and opens the hatches, there will be 10 people occupying the orbiting lab until the crew they are replacing, the Expedition 64 trio, returns to Earth a week later. NASA astronaut Kate Rubins will complete her mission on April 16 with Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Kud-Sverchkov and Sergey Ryzhikov. They will undock from the station’s Poisk module inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship completing a 185-day mission and parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan.

Onboard the station, the current seven-member crew is busy conducting advanced space science benefitting humans on and off the Earth. The orbital septet is also gearing up to accommodate the two April crew swaps when there will be as many as eleven people occupying the space station.

NASA Flight Engineers Michael Hopkins and Victor Glover were back inside Europe’s Columbus laboratory module exploring how microgravity affects the human nervous system. Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi worked on biology hardware servicing components inside the Cell Biology Experiment Facility and the Confocal Space Microscope.

Noguchi also joined Rubins during the afternoon and set up extra sleep accommodations inside the Columbus lab. NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker routed cables that charge U.S. spacesuit batteries inside the Quest airlock.

SpaceX Crew Ship Moves to New Station Port

The SpaceX Crew Dragon is pictured after undocking from the forward port on the Harmony module beginning its short trip to the space-facing port. Credit: NASA TV

Crew Dragon Resilience with NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover, and Shannon Walker, along with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi, have re-docked to the International Space Station, another first for a commercial crew spacecraft.

Crew Dragon autonomously undocked from the forward port of the station’s Harmony module at 6:30 a.m. and relocated to the space-facing port at 7:08 a.m.

This is the start of a process that will enable extraction of new solar arrays from the SpaceX CRS-22 cargo mission’s trunk when it arrives to dock at the Node 2 zenith port following Crew-1 departure.

NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and  Megan McArthur, JAXA astronaut Aki Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet are scheduled to launch to the station Thursday, April 22, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Following a short handover, Crew-1 NASA astronauts Michael HopkinsVictor Glover and Shannon Walker, along with JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi, plan to return home off the coast of Florida about five days after the Crew-2 arrival to the space station as long as mission priorities and weather cooperate.

Crew Dragon Relocation Preps during Botany, Nervous System Research

The seven-member Expedition 64 crew gathers together for a New Year's Day portrait inside the International Space Station's "window to the world," the cupola.
The seven-member Expedition 64 crew is pictured inside the space station’s “window to the world,” the cupola.

Four Expedition 64 astronauts are getting ready to move their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle to another docking port on the International Space Station next week. The orbital residents also continued advanced research into space agriculture and the human nervous system.

Resilience, the docked commercial crew craft from SpaceX, will taxi four astronauts from the Harmony module’s forward-facing port to its zenith, or space-facing port, on Monday at 6:30 a.m. EDT. The autonomous relocation maneuver will take about 45 minutes with NASA TV beginning its live coverage at 6 a.m.

Crew-1 Commander Michael Hopkins is riding along with Pilot Victor Glover and Mission Specialists Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi. The astronauts checked their Crew Dragon flight suits and communications gear during the afternoon. The quartet needs to be on the vehicle in the unlikely event Resilience is unable to redock. This assures there aren’t more crewmembers on the station than seats available on docked crew ships.

Meanwhile, the station crew kept up its space botany work today testing hydroponics as a way to maintain and grow crops in microgravity. NASA Flight Engineer Kate Rubins kicked off her day with the Plant Water Management study as Hopkins took over the activities after lunch time.

Hopkins and Glover were also back in the Columbus laboratory module exploring how weightlessness affects their grip force and up/down movements. The experiment requires the astronauts to strap themselves in a specialized seat and perform a series of dexterous manipulation exercises. Observations could improve the design of spacecraft interfaces and offer deeper insights into the human nervous system in different gravity environments.

Walker was on Crew Medical Officer duties during the morning scanning Glover’s neck, shoulder and leg veins with the Ultrasound-2 device. She then spent the afternoon setting up alternate sleep accommodations ahead of the Expedition 65 crew arrival on April 9 when 10 people will be on the station for just over a week.

Station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov spent the day collecting water samples from Russian life support systems and checking smoke detectors. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov cleaned ventilation systems and transferred water from the docked Progress 77 resupply ship.

Station Gears Up for April Crew Swaps, Keeps Up Space Research

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship, with its two lit crew windows, is pictured docked to the Harmony module's international docking adapter.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spaceship, with its two lit crew windows, is pictured docked to the Harmony module’s international docking adapter.

Four Expedition 64 astronauts will take a quick ride inside their SpaceX Crew Dragon vehicle to a new docking port next week as the International Space Station ramps up for a series of crew swaps.

Resilience, the first operational crew ship from SpaceX, will back out from its forward-facing port on the Harmony module on April 5 at 6:30 a.m. EDT. Dragon Commander Michael Hopkins, Pilot Victor Glover and Crew-1 astronauts Shannon Walker and Soichi Noguchi will be inside the Crew Dragon as it autonomously maneuvers to a docking on Harmony’s space-facing port about 45 minutes later.

April will be a busy month on the orbital lab as three new Expedition 65 crew members, NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, get ready for their April 9 launch to the station aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft. Expedition 64 will end on April 17 when NASA astronaut Kate Rubins and Roscosmos cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov undock from the Poisk module inside the Soyuz MS-17 crew ship and return to Earth.

The four Crew-1 astronauts are also due to return to Earth at the end of April. They will be replaced about a week before by four SpaceX Crew-2 crewmembers including Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur from NASA, Thomas Pesquet from ESA (European Space Agency), and Akihiko Hoshide from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Meanwhile, the station’s seven orbital residents are still keeping up an array of research into microgravity’s impact on biology and physics.

Rubins was the Crew Medical Officer on Monday scanning neck, shoulder and leg veins in Hopkins and Noguchi using the Ultrasound-2 device. Hopkins then joined Glover and Walker for cognition tests for the Standard Measures investigation observing how astronauts adapt to weightlessness.

On the Russian side of the station, station Commander Sergey Ryzhikov packed hard drives containing plasma physics research data for return to Earth with the Expedition 64 trio. Roscosmos Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov swabbed surfaces inside the Zvezda service module to collect microbe samples for later analysis.